The unmasking of the narcissistic, conspiracy-spreading baby-boomer rock star

Over two nights in late September, Eric Clapton used his music-industry connections and his decades of classic-rock hits to draw thousands of fans to Arena in downtown Los Angeles.
Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton perform at Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at Arena on Sept. 24, 2023.(Kevin Winter / Getty Images )

The LATimes reports: “The occasion was the Crossroads Guitar Festival: a once-every-few-years event for which the English singer and guitarist convenes an all-star cast of players — this one included Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, H.E.R. and ZZ Top, among dozens of others — to raise money for the Crossroads drug treatment center Clapton founded a quarter-century ago on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

The Times reports that soon after, “. . . Clapton, 78, headlined a fundraiser for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the now-independent presidential candidate known for spouting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories — among other things, he’s suggested that vaccines cause autism and that the COVID-19 virus was designed not to infect Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people — and for his coziness with conservative political figures such as Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; the event, held at a private estate in Brentwood, raised $2.2 million, according to Kennedy’s campaign.”

Clapton is not new to moving to anti-vaxx, anti-semetic, anti-immigrant and anti-feminist assiciations. He shares views with Greg Abbott, tours with Van Morrison, anti- anything COVID, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, self-reported bigot himself, and has profited from the Rolling Stone whose founder Jann Wenner said Black women and people of color were not intelligent or articulate enough to be included in his book of interviews with musicians.

i’m Yet fans at the Crossroads festival and at a Morrison gig in September seemed largely untroubled by the musicians’ more controversial pronouncements.

Per the Times: “Aubrey Williams, 37, had traveled to L.A. for Crossroads with her husband, Matt, from their home in Charleston, S.C., and said she found it easy to separate the art from the artist. “They’re not shaping policy,” she said of Clapton and the rest. “At the end of the day, it’s music, and that’s what matters.”

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